Genetic resistance to gastrointestinal nematode parasites in Rhön sheep following natural infection
MetadataShow full item record
Genetic parameters of resistance to gastrointestinal nematodes were estimated in Rhön sheep, a local sheep breed in Germany. In the first year, a total of 131 lambs (born between January and February 1998) from five rams were evaluated. Faecal egg counts (FEC) (n=1528) were measured in all lambs every 2 weeks until 4 months of age and every 4 weeks until 12 months of age in female lambs. In the second year, a total of 129 lambs (born between January and February 1999) from the same rams were evaluated. FEC (n=645) were measured in the lambs every 4 weeks until 5 months of age. Blood was taken in both years at the time of faecal sampling from the jugular vein and haematocrit was measured. Heritabilities for log(10)(FEC+25) were between 0.11 and 0.44. Heritabilities for the corresponding haematocrits were between 0.19 and 0.26 depending on the number of samples taken in account. A significant negative correlation was estimated for the parameters of FEC and daily weight gain (r=-0.57). The results confirm the feasibility of genetic selection in Rhön sheep for resistance to nematode parasites in an environment where Trichostrongylus spp./Teladorsagia spp., Haemonchus contortus and Cooperia spp. are the dominant species. Breeding decisions can be based on one or two samples depending on the mean values and ranges of FEC and haematocrit, respectively.